American’s revenue management has been notoriously stingy about releasing seats for premium cabin international travel over the past three years. However American has been going to lengths to improve their premium cabin award availability.
But strangely award availability on American’s flights was nonexistent past the end of the calendar year.
Not all airlines open award space when schedules load — the date for which varies, but is often midnight 331 days in advance of travel. People used to get up at midnight, call the airline, and when the space they want isn’t open think, “Drats! Someone must have beaten me to it!” That’s not how it works at all. Some airlines do of course load some award space when they first add flights into their future schedule. Not all airlines do. And not all airlines load seats and call it quits.
In general airlines want to make seats available as saver awards that they do not expect to sell for cash. A year in advance they may have some idea how many seats that’s likely to be on a given flight, but their knowledge gets much better as travel approaches. What’s more, not all airlines are in a huge hurry to actively manage their inventory nearly a year in advance.
As time progresses, airlines may add or remove award space. Just because awards disappear doesn’t mean someone else has taken the awards. And just because there’s no award space on a given flight doesn’t mean there won’t be space later.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but American just wasn’t loading award space for 2017 even though the airline had loaded flight schedules three weeks into the New Year.
Still, members were concerned especially with the impending March 22 award chart devaluation.
Fortunately that’s changed. There’s now award availability into January, in other words through the end of the schedule. It’s not fantastic award space, especially in premium cabins, but there’s no longer a December 31 cut-off for saver availability.
Here’s Chicago – Paris non-stop availability on American in January:
Here’s Dallas – London non-stop availability on American in January:
Here’s Chicago – Beijing non-stop availability on American in January: